Gut Rumbles

February 08, 2008

Growing things

Originally published December 21, 2003

When I lived in my one-bedroom apartment while playing guitar for a living, a lot of wimmen scolded me for having no plants in my home. They started coming over and bringing me plants to brighten up the place. I managed to kill everything they brought.

Once, Yvonne and Dora brought over something called an "air plant." They told me that it was perfect for my home because nobody had to do a damn thing to it. It was hardy as hell and lived off air. I managed to kill that one, too. I was convinced that I had a Black Thumb.

I started gardening as soon as I moved to Effingham County. I come from a long line of farmers, and once I started getting my hands dirty in the soil, I discovered that I liked doing that sort of thing. I also discovered that I was GOOD AT IT! I didn't have a Black Thumb after all. I had a Green Thumb.

I started out small, just planting some squash, tomatoes, zuchinni and cucumbers. My garden was about 30' by 16' and it produced a bounty of fresh vegetables. My neighbors were amazed. I was proud of myself.

When I had the mini-farm, I was up to tilling almost half an acre and growing corn, beans, okra, potatoes, squash, zuchinni, tomatoes, cucumber, cantelope, watermelon, green onions and three different varieties of peppers in the summer. I learned to fight off the vermin, the bugs and the critters that tried to destroy my crops. I learned to fertilize and apply herbicide. I learned when to water and when not to.

I also grew lettuce, carrots and turnips in the spring. (I LOVE turnip greens) I learned to barter some of my crop for what somebody else had growing down the road. After the deer stomped my watermelons one year, I traded a five-gallon bucket of potatoes for three mighty fine watermelons. I got a bushel of okra in exchange for a bushel of Kentucky Wonder beans. I traded a big grocery bag full of corn for a big grocery bag full of cantelopes. (yeah, the deer got my cantelopes, too, when they got the watermelons.)

I miss feeling my fingers in the soil today. I have enough land to plant a big garden, but my heart just isn't in it anymore. I had a garden my first year in the Crackerbox and I ended up giving almost everything I grew to the neighbors. I can't eat it all, and I don't have a family to feed anymore. Everybody around here grows tomatoes in pots, but they don't grow enough of anything to barter.

What the fuck. I may plant a garden next year, but I may not. Tending plants is a lot of work. I enjoy doing it, I'm good at it, but I really don't see the point anymore.

Besides, I planted one really good seed in my life, and I see him growing smart and strong, as he plays basketball in the driveway today. His name is Quinton.

I can't do much better than that.

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